Weihai overcomes water shortage on road to sustainable development
Weihai on the eastern coast of China has been described as one of the most livable cities in the world, thanks to its environment.
Weihai is one of the most livable cities in the world. [Photo: ChinaPlus]
But it also has to contend with a severe shortage of water.
CRI's Huang Yue takes a closer look at how the city has overcome its natural disadvantages, and is well on its way to sustainable development.
Li Renfen has green fingers, but she seldom waters her plants with tap water.
"The city is not endowed with water reserves. I can't allow myself to use tap water to grow my own plants. Usually, water is first used to wash clothes and food and then, water plants and clean the floor."
Located at the eastern tip of the Shandong Peninsula, the city of Weihai is bounded by sea on three sides.
It may be recognized as one of the most liveable cities in the world, but has still has to contend with a shortage of clean water.
Kong Xu from the local water department says supplying the city with water has been tough.
"The city's rainfall has been very low these years. The water stored in reservoirs is obviously not enough. We have even been unable to ensure a smooth water supply by ourselves."
To meet local demand, the city relies on a water diversion project that brings in over 200,000 cubic meters of water from the Yellow River each day.
While it is striving to increase the supply, efforts have also been made to alleviate the shortage, at the other end, by reducing consumption.
At the top of a list of measures is the adoption of a tiered water pricing system, and the installation of water-saving facilities at major water-consuming enterprises.
The Huaneng Weihai Power Generation Corporation used to consume one ninth of the city's daily water supply back in 2000.
But now, it receives water from its own sewage disposal plant with a daily capacity of 1,400 tons, and desalination facilities that are able to generate close to 10,000 tons of fresh water a day.
With these installations, the company saves at least 3 million tons of tap water every year.
Engineer Li Qing says the facilities have not only reduced the burden on the municipal water supply, but also helped reduced production costs.
"The price for tap water is 13 yuan per ton while that for recycled and desalinated water is less than 10 yuan. The benefits are obvious. We don't have to halt production in drought days. Sea water will never be used up."
Throughout the city, constant and enduring water-saving efforts have also started to pay off.
Official figures show Weihai has seen a drop in water use in spite of a growing industrial sector.
Local authorities say a municipal bill is scheduled to be adopted in the near future, to better regulate water use while streamlining related services.